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Russia quitting space station could trigger program 'nightmare

International Space StationRussia will withdraw from the International Space Station project after 2024 and will focus on deployment of its own space station, the head of the Russian space agency said Tuesday.

Roscosmos CEO Yuri Borisov's announcement is the latest reflection of disintegrating relations between the U.S. and Russia. The two nations have worked together on the station for almost three decades. Europe, Japan and Canada are also partners.

"Of course, we will comply with all our commitments to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made," Borisov said. "I think we will have started work on the Russian space station by that time."

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First images from Nasa’s James Webb space telescope reveal ancient galaxies

Webb telescope sends magesNasa has released an image of far-flung galaxies as they were 13bn years ago, the first glimpse from the most powerful telescope ever launched into space, which promises to reshape our understanding of the dawn of the universe.

The small slice of the universe, called SMACS 0723, has been captured in sharp detail by the James Webb space telescope (JWST), showing the light from many different twinkling galaxies, among the oldest in the universe. Joe Biden, who unveiled the image at a White House event, called the moment “historic” and said it provided “a new window into the history of our universe”.

The small slice of the universe, called SMACS 0723, has been captured in sharp detail by the James Webb space telescope (JWST), showing the light from many different twinkling galaxies, among the oldest in the universe. Joe Biden, who unveiled the image at a White House event, called the moment “historic” and said it provided “a new window into the history of our universe”.

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Early human ancestors one million years older than earlier thought

Early humans one million years older than believed

The fossils of our earliest ancestors found in South Africa are a million years older than previously thought, meaning they walked the Earth around the same time as their east African relatives like the famous “Lucy”, according to new research.

The Sterkfontein caves at the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site southwest of Johannesburg have yielded more Australopithecus fossils than any other site in the world.

Among them was “Mrs Ples”, the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus found in South Africa in 1947.

Based on previous measurements, Mrs Ples and other fossils found at a similar depth of the cave were estimated to be between 2.1 and 2.6m years old.

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Mummified, baby woolly mammoth frozen over 30,000 years ago found in Canada: 'It’s amazing'

Wooly mammoth

Miners in Canada have found a mummified, baby woolly mammoth that scientists believe was frozen during the Ice Age over 30,000 years ago, according to a news release from the Yukon government and Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation.

According to the release, the woolly mammoth was uncovered while miners were excavating through the permafrost on Tuesday, in Klondike gold fields within the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin traditional territory.

The baby was later identified to be a young, female woolly mammoth who died tens of thousands of years ago.

The mammoth calf was named Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language, by Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Elders.

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Behold the Magnetar, nature’s ultimate superweapon

Magnetar, nature's ultimate weapon

If you think black holes are the scariest things in the Universe, I have something to share with you.

There are balls of dead matter no bigger than a city yet shining a hundred times brighter than the Sun that send out flares of X-rays visible across the galaxy. Their interiors are made of superfluid subatomic particles, and they have cores of exotic and unknown states of matter. Their lifetime is only a few thousand years.

And here's the best part: They have the strongest magnetic fields ever observed, so strong they can melt you—literally dissociate you down to the atomic level—from a thousand kilometers away.

These are the magnetars, perhaps the most fearsome entities ever known.

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Equilibrium/Sustainability — Scientists create plant-based wrap to replace plastic

Plant based option to plastic wrapScientists have developed a biodegradable, plant-based coating for foods that they say could provide an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.

Their solution can be sprayed directly onto foods, protecting them from both disease-causing microorganisms and from damage in transportation, according to the Rutgers and Harvard authors, who published their findings in Nature Food on Monday.

“We knew we needed to get rid of the petroleum-based food packaging that is out there and replace it with something more sustainable, biodegradable and nontoxic,” co-author Philip Demokritou, director of the Nanoscience and Advanced Materials Research Center at Rutgers University, said in a statement.

At the core of the new technology are fibers based on polysaccharides, the most common natural carbohydrates in food, and biopolymers, which are naturally occurring, biodegradable materials.

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Spirals of blue light in New Zealand night sky leave stargazers ‘kind of freaking out’

Blue spirals in N Zealand sky

New Zealand stargazers were left puzzled and awed by strange, spiralling light formations in the night sky on Sunday night.

Around 7.25pm Alasdair Burns, a stargazing guide on Stewart Island/Rakiura, received a text from a friend: go outside and look at the sky. “As soon as we actually went outside, it was very obvious what it was he was referring to,” Burns said.

He saw a huge, blue spiral of light amid the darkness. “It looked like an enormous spiral galaxy, just hanging there in the sky, and slowly just drifting across,” Burns said. “Quite an eerie feeling.”

Burns snapped a few images of the lights on long exposure, capturing the spiral from his phone. “We quickly banged on the doors of all our neighbours to get them out as well. And so there were about five of us, all out on our shared veranda looking up and just kind of, well, freaking out just a little bit.”

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